Thus have I, from my pathei mathos,
come to accept that conventional faith - and all dogma,
be such theological or political - rather obscures the essence, The
Numen, itself. Such things I now regard as abstractions which we
manufacture and impose, or project, upon Reality in a somewhat vain and
arrogant attempt to "understand" it, and ourselves, and others - and
which, in effect, dispose us toward pre-judgement, based on such
abstractions, with such pre-judgements often being inhuman in the sense
that they cause suffering or harm or destroy other life.
Thus my understanding now is of how all life - sentient and otherwise -
is connected, and an expression, a presencing, of that some-thing which
is beyond us (and which Nature is a part of) which some-thing I have
tentatively called "The Cosmic Being". This Being is not God - but
rather the Cosmos, and all life, and thus we ourselves, in-evolution:
with our consciousness being a means whereby we can know this Being -
and The Numinous and Beauty, which are manifestations of this connected
Life, this Being. Our consciousness is also a means whereby we can
change ourselves, and thus be what we have the potential to be.
For me, all Art, poetry, music, literature, and Ways of Living which
capture or express (or presence) something of the numinous - which so
manifest something of the beautiful, the sublime, "the primal
innocence" - are or can be a means of transformation for ourselves and
for others. As are - or rather as can be - some personal relationships,
where love, based on loyalty and that simple sharing and trust which
such personal loyalty engenders, is freely given and freely received.
Indeed, I would go so far as to express the belief that it is such
human love, between two human beings, which is perhaps the finest, most
noble, and most beautiful expression of our humanity - and there is
such a sadness in knowing how much this is not the case, now, in the
world where we dwell; in knowing how so many people, knowing or
unknowing, abuse and misuse such love, given to them, for their own
selfish, prideful, ends.
In a very important sense, we are The Cosmic Being: we are other life,
we are the very Cosmos itself, although as human beings we just do not
perceive this or feel this, yet. And so, being a connexion to other
life, we can harm or aid this other life and ourselves, and thus harm
or aid and help to assist and evolve, The Cosmic Being itself.
To so perceive, feel and understand, our connexion - which sublime Art,
music (and so on) and some moments of some personal relationship are
intimations of - we require empathy. From empathy there is compassion,
and from both arises that desire to cease to cause suffering to other
living beings: to live in such a way that we ourselves are changed,
moment to moment, by remembering the numinous and by feeling the
numinous both within us and without.
To do this, we do not need "prayer" - or belief in some deity or
deities; and we especially do not need some theology or indeed any
dogma. All we need is a certain numinous apprehension; an empathic way
of seeing and being which burgeons forth into a wordless compassion;
the faculty of remembering how we are but one connexion, but one
transient part of one cosmic flow which began somewhere, long ago, and
which will change to-be something else in some future.
Which leads us on to the very purpose of our individual lives, which I
personally understand as transcending - through our mortal life's
ending - to where we merge back into Life itself; returned to the
Cosmos; to be part of the very consciousness of a still imperfect and
still changing and still evolving Cosmic Being.
Thus, what motivates us is not the hope of some personal "reward" given
to us by some deity; nor even the hope of attaining for ourselves some
kind of Paradise or Nirvana. Rather, the motivation is supra-personal.
For what motivates us is the reality which so plainly exists: the
reality of ourselves as a loving connexion to life, to Nature, and to
the Cosmos; the reality of empathy - of how we have the ability to go
beyond our animal, our barbaric, past, and perceive and feel beyond the
ego and even the self; the reality of suffering, and how we can cease
to cause suffering and so aid Life and the very change and evolution of
From all this there derives a particular and quite simple morality - a
guide to personal behaviour - and a particular way of living. Our moral
guide is empathy, and the personal honour and compassion that derives
from this. There is thus a living in the moment; an acceptance of Life;
and yet also a remembrance of suffering and tragedy, and a wordless but
very numinous hope. This numinous hope is that born by the new cosmic
perspective which our awareness of ourselves as one connexion brings
us. Thus do we feel the centuries, the millennia, before us, and after
us, and thus do we place contemporary events in perspective.
Hence there is an understanding that the only way the world - people -
will change in any significant and ethical way, is by the difficult
change within each and every individual: through perception, through
them developing empathy, and through a living based upon that empathy,
and that all we, as individuals can do, is strive to live in an ethical
way ourselves, trusting, hoping, that our lives, our artistic and
musical emanations, can aid such a numinous transformation of others.
[Extract from a letter to a friend. I have amended the text slightly to
remove typos and clarify the sense in one or two particular places.]